Some of the warmest responses I ever received to a Search Insider column were for a column that fittingly had almost nothing to do with search. It was called “Google vs. Grandmom,” the story of my grandmother’s quest to embrace the Internet.
Over the course of her life, that’s been among the most trivial of her trials. I’m proud to share here, if you’ll forgive the digression, that my grandmother is now a published author. I read her book Through Siberia with Bed & Babies: A Holocaust Survivor’s Joys & Sorrows when I went to visit her Memorial Day weekend, and it’s amazing how well she was able to capture her life story, mostly from the 1939 through the 1960s. She’s also featured in Holocaust Survivors of South Jersey: Portraits of Resilience.
When making my way through her book, it was hard to read about so many of her family members who were murdered, people who have no descendants to read their memoirs. Yet in moving beyond that, I can’t resist taking pride in this most recent of my grandmother’s myriad accomplishments – alas, one she couldn’t share with her husband and my namesake, David Berkowitz.
For those who care to read the original column, it’s available at MediaPost and reprinted below in the extended entry, as the column pre-dated this blog by about two months.
|Google vs. Grandmom|
|by David Berkowitz, Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 2:15 PM ET|
|I’M SO STUPID,” SHE SAID, either
to the computer or to me, or perhaps both. My poor grandmother. She
survived the Nazis, the Russians, and the Poles. She braved postwar
anti-Semitism in Germany. She immigrated to the United States with her
husband (my namesake) and two children, raising them on a chicken farm
in New Jersey. This woman has known hardships the likes of which I
could never imagine.
Now, with my help, she’s trying to fulfill her greatest challenge: mastering the Internet.
Even knowing her life resume, I’m convinced this is one challenge she
One theme that arose during the computer lesson I gave my grandmother
During my visit with her, two days before the lesson, I found a reason
I opened Firefox, which defaulted to the Google search page. Then I
I’ve also realized that for my grandmother, searching in general is
On searching for driving directions: “You think I don’t know where I¹m going?”
On searching for recipes: “What, you don’t like my cooking?”
On searching for product recommendations: “And I should trust some
Maybe she doesn’t really need search, when she’ll happily supply an
My grandmother’s computer sits in her den atop a series of cabinets
I loaded dozens of family photos onto her computer and then set her
Grandmom, we’re the stupid ones, thinking search engines have all the